Waves are undulations of the surface layers of both large and small bodies of water. They are in fact one of the most obvious phenomena of the ocean. Wave phenomena involve the transmission of energy and momentum by means of vibratory impulses through the various states of matter.

Theoretically the medium does not move as the energy passes through. The particles that constitute the medium simply move in a back and forth or orbital (circular) pattern, transmitting energy from one to another.

From the point of view of the motion of the particles in waves, they are classified as longitudinal waves Longitudinal Wave and transverse waves. In longitudinal waves, the particles in vibra­tory motion move back and forth in a direction parallel to the propagation of energy.

These waves transmit energy through all states of matter. On the other hand, in transverse waves the propagation of energy is at right angles to the direction of particle vibration. These waves transmit energy only through solids.


Waves produced on the surface of the ocean have particle movements that are neither longitudinal nor transverse. This is true in the case of all such waves that transmit energy along an interface between two fluids of different densities.

The movement of particles along such an interface involves components of both, since the particles move in circular orbits at the interface between the atmosphere and the ocean. Such waves are called the Orbital waves.